London, EnglandThe last time the sporting world saw Paula Radcliffe compete, she was celebrating winning her first major global world title. That was nine weeks ago when she won the marathon at the World Championships in Helsinki.
Today (16 October), she returned to action by winning the Run London Nike 10k in Hyde Park and then completed what was probably another first in her line of achievements. She finished the race and started again.
Radcliffe jogged around the second time with a group of fun runners who had won a competition to race with her and she could do both because the large field - there were 15,000 for the event - were sent off in three separate races.
But the serious side was never lost with Radcliffe who was pleased to “blow away the cobwebs” since she went back into training after Helsinki as she now begins her countdown to the Commonwealth Games in March. After those she will run either the World Cross Country Championships or a marathon and with her, you can never rule out her competing in all three.
On a windy, sunlit morning in London, Radcliffe was never in contention to break her World record of 30:21. But she won the women’s event in 32:19 and though she was slightly frustrated with her performance, she was happy and said: “I have been getting back into it during the last four weeks or so when I have not been doing huge mileage. I have been doing 120 miles a week, when normally I would do about 140.”
"Today was like a run-out doubling as a training session. I was not messing around but I knew I was not on for a world record time. There were no hiccups after Helsinki," she continued, "and if you are having huge problems coming back from a marathon or you have some problems, then you are not ready to race. But I was and there will always be pressure because most of it comes from myself when you are ready for an event. It is why I am a bit frustrated today because you have expectations from a race. I may have that world title but there are other things I want to achieve."
She will now race again on Saturday (22 October) for her club Bedford & County at the National Four-Stage Road Relays in Birmingham.
Radcliffe has not decided whether to go from the Commonwealths to the World Cross Championships in Fukuroka, Japan, two weeks later, or concentrate on a marathon in April.
"I am still playing around with the permutations," she said. "The Commonwealths, World Cross and marathon is probably a lot and it is not a lay out that happens often when you have to get your head around the track being first."
Richard Lewis for the IAAF